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Investigators await autopsy in weight bench death
35-year-old Bull Bay Road man found dead in garage
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Investigators were awaiting an autopsy to the determine the cause of death of a Bulloch County man reported found Tuesday morning on a weight bench with a barbell on top of him.

An initial Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office incident summary stated that Cpl. Brian Nessmith was dispatched to a home on Bull Bay Road at 7:36 a.m. Tuesday. While Nessmith was on the way, the Emergency Medical Service confirmed that a man was dead at the scene. The Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday identified the deceased as Brenton Copeland, 35, of the Bull Bay Road address.

A woman, described in the incident report as Copeland’s fiancée, told the deputy that she had gone to bed at 12:30 a.m. and left Copeland in the living room watching a sporting event. When she awoke about 7:30 a.m., she went to put clothes in the dryer and noticed the garage light was on, she told Nessmith, as noted in the report.

The woman said she found Copeland, appearing unconscious, lying on a weight bench in the garage with a barbell across his chest. She told the deputy that she did not recall if there were any weights on the barbell but she had been able to remove it and call 911, according to the initial report.

In the report, Nessmith noted the presence of a three-fourths empty, half-gallon Jose Cuervo tequila bottle on the living room coffee table and of cans of weight gain powder, whey protein powder and creatine on top of a refrigerator.

But the fiancée reportedly told the deputy that Copeland had not used supplements in a while, and that he had a stroke last year. The deputy also noted the presence in the home of a bottle of Atorvastatin, a cholesterol-lowering drug, prescribed in the name of the deceased.

Sheriff’s Office Capt. Todd Hutchens processed the scene, and the body was released to the deputy Bulloch County coroner. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation lab in Savannah was performing an autopsy, Bulloch County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jared Akins said Wednesday afternoon.

“At this point we’re awaiting the results of the autopsy, and hopefully that will be today or tomorrow,” Akins said.

Herald reporter Al Hackle may be reached at (912) 489-9458.


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